Thursday, April 06, 2006

Roman Swedish Days - Part II

How a perfectly disorganized evening can turn out to be extremely fun.

Take 7 Swedish people distributed in 4 different houses, add a half dozen italians who are told to "bring something" for a dinner, without being specified what, and give to both groups the same hour to be at the same place which is between 10 and 25 minutes from everyone's houses. Stay and look what follows.

8.35 I arrive at the house thinking "Well, ok, I'm 5 minutes late, hope they will not mind". Obviously, in fact, I'm the first to arrive and I find the 4 inhabitants of the house (1 italian, one new zeelander, 2 swedish guys) pleasantly chatting. I offered my 4 bottles of red wine welcomed with a "Oh, great, we definitely needed some red wine! I was worried we wouldn't have enough".

Even more obviously after such a comment, one hour, seven people and 7 more bottles of wine (6 red, 1 white) later, the table had started to look like the branch office of the wine shop at the end of the street. And we were still missing two swedish girls and their host, but at that point, after having thoroughly examined the matters of manners and etiquette, the social conventions related to waiting for the guests and considering that the majority of them had arrived and were voraciously eyeing the pans, we graciously decided it was time to start.

10 minutes later the most delicious vegetarian lasagna I have ever had had already gone, with little or no regret, to the heaven of pasta when the last missing guests made their appearance... escorting three more bottles of wine (and a pretty nice chianti, at that) and presenting the mother of all excuses for a 75 minutes delay "We couldn't find any parking". Feeling slightly guilty for the lasagna's disappearance we silently agreed to not press them and pretend to buy that from someone staying at 10 minutes of walking distance.

So, whoever says that northern people are more timely than italian is now warned that's pure myth and legend. Or, maybe, in the most roman of the traditions, we are just absorbing them very quickly and turning their strict manners in more... relaxed one. We blame it on the climate tho: while it's perfectly understandable being very strict on time in a place where, when you wait 5 minutes out of a building for someone, you end up frozen, in Italy the worst that can happen to you is getting a coffee at the closest bar or start talking with the casual passer by.

Anyway, the evening was a resounding (literally, as helped with generous quantities of wine we were surely not quiet at all, poor neighbors) success which for most of us ended at around midnight, while some more fortunate beings for whom the word "work" has only an arcane and vague meaning still, headed for some club.

And so here I am, just about starting to work, and in the last three days I barely had time to sleep, not to mention writing emails and get back in touch with friends after I got back from London. Ah, busy life...

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